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In honor of International Women’s Day, PocketFives is shining the light on some of the women in poker who have made poker their lives and their careers and are an integral part of moving the game to new heights. If you are a poker fan in Latin America, then there’s a very good chance you are already very aware of Pamela 'Pamsi' Balzano, the 25-year old poker player and influencer from Buenos Aires, Argentina who dedicates almost all of her time and creativity to promote the game of poker. Balzano, a part-time player and full-time content creator, has been heavily involved in the poker community for the better part of the past eight years. From back in 2014 when she used to take pictures of live events for poker news outlet Codigo Poker to hosting the final table of the 2021 partypoker MILLIONS Online Main Event, her passion for the game of poker, and the people who enjoy it, shines through in everything she does. “My first time in a casino was for work, to take pictures. Then, three years later I started my YouTube channel with the idea of creating a new way to communicate poker. I really liked to explain to people who don’t know about the game how it works, but in a funny way, a colorful way. A different way, because poker in the movies, everything is dark and that’s not the truth about the game.” For Balzano, the game of poker isn’t some moody mix of smoky backrooms or shady characters. It’s always been entertaining, analytical, and even professional. A trait she picked up early from her brother. “My brother is seven years older than me and he started playing when he was 18. He became a professional poker player very soon thereafter and then in my home, it was always hand analysis and hand reviews. And I was always there with him and his friends. That’s where I became very interested in the game, because of him. Also, I really liked that he was always traveling around the world playing cards." "So my idea was to follow his path, but doing something different because I really like art and to create things and, well, taking pictures.” After a few years of being involved in poker media, she wanted to reach more people. She started working on her own YouTube channel where she would speak with poker players, give tips to new players, create tournament vlogs, and produce popular “Draw My Life” videos for players like Stu Ungar, Adrian Mateos, Damian Salas, and Doyle Brunson - a video that has been seen well over 100,000 times. In the midst of working on her videos, she also began to work on her own game. “I started with my YouTube channel and then I started to study the game more professionally, but I’m not a professional poker player. I like to play poker, I like to study poker and I really want to improve my game. So for the last two years, I’ve been studying a lot and playing more, but not full-time because I create content and communicate poker, that’s my job.” Since that time, her job and profile in poker have been expanding. She’s an active Twitch streamer, showcasing the results of her poker studies to her more than 9,000 followers and she’s also been recruited by partypoker to anchor a number of online broadcasts for their Latin American viewers on the partypokerLATAM channel. It’s clear though that, for Balzano, the time and dedication she puts into her myriad of poker content is truly a labor of love and the feedback she receives from her community motivates her to keep pushing forward. “I love my community because I’ve found a lot of nice people who are always enjoying the game like me, they are always sending good vibes. I really like to share my work with people, and that’s why I really like this job because I can share everything with a lot of nice people.” Next up for Balzano is a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to cover and play in the upcoming Caribbean Latin Series of Poker Main Event. As both a player and a content creator for the event, she intends on bringing her “A” game both on and off the felt. It’s one of the challenges she had faced in the world of poker, splitting her time between playing and presenting, “It’s difficult for me to decide if I prefer to play or if I prefer to create content because I love creating content and being in touch with people. But of course, I really like the game…I like to play,” she said but also acknowledges that in order to keep things fresh she has to bring the total experience to her audience. “I think the main challenge is to be creative every day. To do things differently. The market is growing, every part of the market, and nowadays Twitch is growing a lot. I really like that, because I am a little bit competitive so I’m always trying to do things differently.” [caption id="attachment_634054" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Pamela Balzano and Santiago Gonzalez anchor the recent coverage of the partypoker MILLIONS Online Main Event final table.[/caption] But those challenges are good ones to have. As the international poker market continues to grow, including in Argentina where Balzano says the game is “popular…but not very much” yet, her years of experience in all facets of the game are being allowed to shine. And as her community continues to grow so does her appreciation of the task at hand - bringing the game of poker into the spotlight. “I’m doing the job of my dreams, achieving a lot of things. One of them is being the host of big-time tournaments, for example, the partypoker MILLIONS Online. Of course, it would be nice if I could do it live, but it’s understandably difficult right now. But my main, main, main dream is to do commentary for the World Series of Poker Main Event or something like that. That would be nice.”
Poker vloggers let their audiences ride shotgun on their journey but keeping up to date on them can be a bit of a challenge. Each week, PocketFives brings you a selection of the very best so you can watch them all in a single session. Marle Cordeiro Wants Five Minutes of Your Time In case you've ever wanted to crack the code on what it takes to win at the low stakes cash game level, Marle Cordeiro has the answer to that question in this week's vlog. She also talks about a recent trip to Austin, Texas for her very first Meet Up Game. Brad Owen Takes on Hollywood Remember that scene in Rounders where Worm goes into a bit of a monologue while subtly asking Mike for a stake? Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme basically lived that out while in Hollywood. Owen and Neeme both bust a tournament at Hollywood Park Casino and Owen was a little short of the buy-in for a $5/$10 cash game. We'll let Owen take it from there. Live at the Bike Doesn't Go So Well for Johnnie Vibes Everybody has a rival. Johnnie Vibes is no different and this week he gets into the growing rivalry he has with Live at the Bike regular Francisco while also providing some analysis on the hands he played during the session. Things don't go well for Johnnie. The ALL IN Poker Vlog Heads to the Wynn For the past seven months, the ALL IN Poker Vlog has been going to different Las Vegas poker rooms to give fans at home a look at how each one is different. In this episode, he heads off to the Wynn Poker Room for the first time. This is definitely a vlog you're going to want to subscribe to if you plan on going to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker this summer. The Godfather Goes to Reno and Goes Quads vs. Quads Sometimes poker vloggers struggle to get good hands to talk about in their vlogs. Sometimes though, they win with quads over quads on a live-streamed tournament at Run It Up Reno. And of course, that happened to Andrew Neeme this week. To be honest, though, we're not entirely thrilled to see somebody losing with pocket fives here. It's still definitely worth watching.
Poker vloggers let their audiences ride shotgun on their journey but keeping up to date on them can be a bit of a challenge. Each week, PocketFives brings you a selection of the very best so you can watch them all in a single session. Andrew Neeme Doesn't Know What He's Doing Andrew Neeme, who picked up the Poker Vlogger of the Year award at the Global Poker Awards, took off to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to do some live streaming for 888poker, but he also found some time to head to one of the local casinos and play the great game of Pot Limit Omaha. Jaman Burton Becomes a Super Hero at Ameristar Leaving the house at 3 AM, Jaman Burton finds himself on the road on his way to Ameristar Casino to play some $2/$5 No Limit Hold'em. He didn't wear a cape or a utility belt (that we know of), but he did manage to turn himself into a hero while there. The Best 'Nine High' Story Ever If you've ever won a pot with nine high before, you've probably told the story a million times over. Trevor Savage has such a story and it's far better than any you've heard or told before. Check out this episode of Raising the Nuts as Savage recalls his top five favorite poker hands. Mariano Poker Heads to Las Vegas with Johnnie Vibes When Johnnie Vibes was nominated for the People's Choice Awards at this years Global Poker Awards, he decided to bring along a guest. Turns out that guest is also a vlogger and he turned the trip into a vlog of his own. 'Mariano Poker' is a relative newcomer to the poker vlogging scene, but his latest vlog is definitely worth checking out. Andrew Lok A regular in the Bay Area cash games, Andrew Lok decided to mix things up and jump into a $1,100 at the start of the Bay 101 Shooting Star series. Lok walks you through a few key hands from that tournament while also giving fans a taste of life in San Jose.